QR Codes in a Nutshell

thumb_924e149af069b8ea323a809fbb1171d4You’ve probably seen these funny barcode-like symbols popping up and wondered if they mean anything. These days they are all over the place – on websites, in magazines, and even in television ads. What are these mysterious glyphs? Should we be concerned? And of course the question on all of our minds, how can I use them to market my business?

QR Codes are essentially barcodes that store a whole lot more data. They were originally used to track parts for the auto industry, but these days you can find them everywhere – they have a great commercial value. A tiny QR code can hold a lot more data than a traditional barcode because it stores it on two dimensions, horizontally and vertically. Barcodes pretty much just translate to a few digits where QR codes can display letters, numbers and other characters. They can then be scanned by mobile smartphones equipped with cameras to decode the information. Much of the time, QR codes will point to a URL, but they can contain text, phone numbers, SMS messages, WiFi logins, and a whole lot more.

With the explosion of mobile browsing and even mobile ecommerce, utilizing QR codes to share data between traditional media such as newsletter, brochures and print ads can help drive more digital traffic. Think of QR codes as a pseudo-social media: not everybody is going to jump on board immediately, but as big popular brands embrace QR codes (and they most definitely are) users will start to catch on and pull out their mobile device more often to see what is behind the code.

QR codes can open up a lot of creative opportunities for marketing efforts. Since QR codes are simple monochrome images they can be put on everything from business cards to t-shirts to chocolate. Remember, the creativity can’t stop there; when someone scans the QR code you’ll want to send them somewhere worth going to – that might not be your homepage, but a special landing page specific to the piece of media they scanned.

Looking to learn more about QR codes, or get help implementing them for your business? Give us a call at 905.763.7896.

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